An initial selection of Jeremy Pike’s works recently added to Composers Edition catalogue, plus works for solo instrument, ensemble, voice, orchestra and an opera from Adam Gorb, Christopher Fox, Gordon Crosse, James Erber, Jack Van Zandt, Linda Catlin-Smith, Liz Dilnot Johnson, Paul Alan Barker, Philip Cashian, Silvina Milstein, Susannah Self and Vykintas Baltakas.
for solo mezzo-soprano
Songs for my Father. In memory of Peter Gorb 1926 – 2013.
Western Wind – Anon
The Wind Sounds Like a Silver Wire – Alfred (Lord Tennyson)
When I was One and Twenty – A E Houseman
Sonnet From the Portuguese – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Western Wind – Anon
‘Tis the Arabian Bird…’ – John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
for voices (SATB)
In 1516 Thomas More published his Utopia, in which a traveller, Raphael Hythlady, describes the society he has encountered on the island of Utopia. News from nowhere sets two passages from the final section of Hythlady’s account, mostly in the Latin of More’s original publication but once in Ralph Robinson’s 1551 English translation.
“In 1983 I wrote a score for Granada TV’s production with Sir Laurence Olivier, directed by my friend Michael Elliot. Being for TV and not a movie, the score consists of a lot of rather short cues – a fact disliked by Olivier (who was nostalgic for the music of William Walton). In making this free-standing concert piece, I combined various short sections into four larger ones – ignoring the original running order and concentrating on the central character of Lear and his mental state.”
for SSAT or SSAB
song for a cold easter
gold of a beginning day
small birds rustle
five after seven bawls the cock
old crow carks
dismiss winter don’t differ hear
yellow yellow yellow
green follows hammering
heart season open
follow follow follow
song for a cold easter
for solo clarinet in Eb
accretion/erosion was written in response to a documentar y broadcast on BBC Radio 4, about the effects of natural forces on the coastline near Formby in Lancashire. It consists of six short sections which – as the work’s title suggests – are subjected to alternate processes of attenuation and prolongation.
Jack Van Zandt
five etudes for solo clarinet in Eb or Bb
I. Bird; II: Taking a Line for a Walk; III. Chaconne; IV: Togaku; V. Train
Become Motion takes its title and concept from Swiss artist Paul Klee’s (1879-1940) pedagogical and art theory writings (Pedagogical Sketchbook, The Nature of Nature, and The Thinking Eye). Klee’s work and teachings are full of ways to initiate movement and drama in painting and drawing, and ideas for following through the implied processes to create pictures that appear to be in motion, despite their static nature. His titles for paintings and pedagogical examples often reflected these concepts: Twittering Bird, Taking a Line for a Walk, etc.
for violin and piano
Aphelion. “That point of a planet’s or comet’s orbit at which it is furthest from the sun”
(The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary).
This work uses material derived from a pattern of ever widening intervals, which diverge in contrary motion from a central note (C) to portray an elliptical orbit. This arrives at the point of the aphelion on F and G, which are the last notes to be reached in the interval series. In essence the work describes the concept of being far from a centre, of inestimable loneliness and passionate longing combined with moments of serenity and repose.
for bassoon and piano
This is an adaptation of the first movement of Pike’s Concerto for Bassoon and Chamber Orchestra, which was commissioned by Graham Salvage and first performed in 1995. The principal ideas of the Aria are a fivenote ostinato, which plays almost continuously with constantly shifting harmony, and a slowly evolving lament for the bassoon. A chorale appears after the opening section which is derived from VE Day, A Commemoration, a brass sextet he composed for the VE Day 50th anniversary commemoration service in Manchester Cathedral.
for treble recorder, clarinet, viola and piano
This piece was specially commissioned for performance in the William Alwyn Festival 2016. It takes its title from a poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne, who was inspired by the desolate contrast between land and sea in several of his poems, particularly through his visits to Suffolk and the lost town of Dunwich.
for violin and harpsichord
Cascades was inspired by a walk along a fast-flowing stream created by melting ice, where the cold, clear water cascades over a series of waterfalls. These are represented by rapid note figurations in the harpsichord, generally falling in pitch but sometimes bouncing back upwards again. Meanwhile the violin part is essentially melodic, conveying the conflicting emotions of the walker contemplating the disturbing effects of the warming climate, whilst observing the ever-changing patterns of reflected light in the stream as it tumbles down the rocks.
for violin and piano
This work was written for Jennifer Pike to perform in the string semi-finals of BBC Young Musician of the Year 2002. It was composed during the summer of 2001 whilst staying in Bowdoin, New England, USA, and completed in September of that year. The title means “premonition”, and the piece uses a range of violin techniques to elaborate a dark, expressive melody imbued with a deep sense of foreboding. The piece was inspired by a vivid dream with images of a deserted, ruined city, an idea made all the more extraordinary by the fact that this title was chosen just days before the attack on the Twin Towers.
for two violins, viola and cello
Sketched whilst Pike was living in the industrial region of southern Poland in 1979, this quartet reflects the desolation of the days preceding great political turmoil. It was completed in 1984.
The quartet received an honorary mention in the Carl Maria von Weber International Composers’ Competition in Dresden, 1985 and was premiered by the Bingham Quartet in 1988.
for chamber ensemble
Path of Uneven Stones was commissioned by the Societe de Musique Contemporaine de Quebec (SMCQ) through the Canada Council for the Arts. Central to the work is the piano, which is soloistic, yet non-heroic – a kind of anti-concerto. The work explores melodic line, (sometimes several lines in layers), which have a slightly uneven rhythmic nature, a path where the stones are unevenly spaced perhaps, though there are places where evenness is paramount.
Liz Dilnot Johnson
for unaccompanied choir with bass solo
“Lady Margaret Wall introduced me to Gerard Manley Hopkins’ extraordinary The Windhover – one of her late husband’s favourite poems. We had been searching together for a text that both summoned up an element of the dawn chorus and also had some personal connection with Sir Nicholas for this new Ex Cathedra commission.
Setting the words of this poem has been a true adventure for me. A muscular bass solo threads through the music, which includes wild kestrel calls and the sound of wind through feathers, leading to a climax at the lines ‘the fire that breaks from thee then… O my chevalier!’ Hopkins’ words not only conjure up the hawk, hovering and riding the wind at dawn, but also images of chivalric love and an evocation of the intense beauty of the day’s first light.”
Paul Alan Barker
a melodrama in three acts
“I worked with Zoë Lister to create a bank of spoken text and faces, exploiting certain emotions, as a Research Consultant for Toshiba Research in Cambridge. Toshiba created an avatar of Zoë, called XpressiveTalk TM, a face on a screen who could be programmed to speak any text across a full emotional range.”
This work was designed for Zoë Lister to perform alongside her avatar and a pianist/actor. The narrative explores the changing relationship between an Artist and his Muse, and how their reality is altered by the consequences.
for countertenor and piano
The moon came to the forge in her petticoat of nard.
The boy looks and stares, the boy looks at the moon.
In the shaken air
the moon raises her arms,
and shows lubricious and pure, her beaten-tin breasts.
Run moon, run moon, moon!
If the villagers come,
white rings and white necklaces they will beat from your heart.
– Federico Garcia Lorca (translation: various)
Música ciudadana is a collage made out of fragments of characteristic rhythms, turns of phrase and sonorities drawn from the vernacular music of Buenos Aires (tango, milonga, bolero …); the music that envelops its streets on summer evenings, filtering through half-closed blinds, echoing in patios, defiantly pouring out of radios or hummed by intimate voices. Constantly changing textures and figures contribute to a kaleidoscopic surface, unified by a sense of tonal direction.
The Anatomy of a Woman for marimba and string orchestra
A woman’s body is fed by many tributaries that flow like a river secretly within her. These fluids are hidden from the outside world, repressed, sent underground. The embodiment of her flow is contained within the coiled serpent at the base of her spine. This concealed kundalini energy informs the opening of HER BODY.